Nice midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou and Marseille captain Steve Mandanda condemned the homophobic banners that forced Wednesday’s Ligue 1 clash to be halted. Marseille emerged 2-1 winners away to Nice midweek, but not before a controversial delay in play at Allianz Riviera. Referee Clement Turpin decided to stop the game after two signs including homophobic language were seen in the crowd – the delay lasting around five minutes. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? “We will not hide behind the interruption of the match,” Lees-Melou said. “But it hurt us, we were in a strong time. “Was this decision justified? We are all against discrimination. We will not be able to change everything overnight. “I heard such songs on the grounds. Now, if you have to police every game, it will be complicated.” While Lees-Melou was not impressed with the stoppage in the match, Marseille goalkeeper Mandanda defended the officials for making the call, while hitting out the supporters who are ruining the atmosphere at matches. “I totally understand the referees. It must be stopped,” he said. “The stadium is supposed to be a festive and fun place. “As for us, the players, this kind of interruption is always complicated. It is always difficult to return quickly then in the game.” This was not a first in French football. Referees in France have been instructed to stop matches if homophobic banners are displayed, or homophobic chanting is heard, during the 2019-20 season. The Ligue 2 match between Nancy and Le Mans on August 16 was the first to be temporarily suspended, while a referee threatened to do the same during the meeting of Monaco and Nimes in the top flight on Sunday. And the interruptions of matches have been a talking point for those involved. “We can’t stop a game every time that stupid people act like that,” Nice’s Wylan Cyprien said to Canal+. “I am against every discrimination, homophobia or racism. “But we can’t stop games for that. It’s ridiculous.” It was Marseille’s first victory of the season following a draw and loss under new head coach Andre Villas-Boas, while the result ended Nice’s perfect start to the campaign.